Exterior image of the Renfrew Branch Library shows how the building is nestled into a slope of the site.

Renfrew Branch Library


Vancouver, BC

Recognized by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for its design, the Renfrew Branch Library offers the city a bold civic design while emphasizing public accessibility and community-use.

The dramatic roof extension that greets pedestrians and transit users on East 22nd Street marks the building as an important civic space, while preventing direct sunlight from damaging library materials. The library offers facilities for parents, children, young adults, and seniors along with multi-purpose space for special events.

Careful attention was paid to meet the unique needs of different users. Quiet research carrels are distributed around the well-windowed periphery. An inner library contains the media centre, book collections study and seating areas. In the children’s section the ceiling drops to meet the stature of the younger library user. Common areas allow families to read with each other.

The building’s shape allows for a small piazza which establishes a vital streetscape and accommodates views of the park and North Shore mountains.  The library improves pedestrian movement throughout the park site and adjacent community centre, and reorders parking and drop-off arrangements with a keen eye on accessibility. 

The Renfrew Branch Library is a building that sensitively responds to its park setting, relates to the existing community centre, and has established its own identity as an important civic building for Vancouver.


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